Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Secret Garden Book Review

I missed a lot of Classic literature while I was reading Sweet Valley High and The Baby-sitters club
in my mis-read youth.  Now, I'm taking advantage of classic children's books during my children's childhood.  I picked up an illustrated version of The Secret Garden at the library to read to my kids.  After a few chapters, I got tired of trying to read aloud in a Yorkshire accent and switched to an audio version.  This was much easier to listen to together, although it was eight hours long.

I was very excited with the beginning of the book.  I love how Mary begins as an unlikeable, contrary girl.  There were great descriptions of the moor and the gothic mansion at Misselthwaite.  Mrs. Medlock, Martha and Ben Weatherstaff are strong, memorable characters and there is always a sense of mystery.  I am more and more impressed by the importance of mystery in any story.

At some point, I sarcastically thought this book could be described as The Secret Garden: or how every ailment can be cured by going outside.  There is something of a preachy morality tale to the story.  I believe this was popular and, actually, the point of children's literature at the time.  Still, the story is highly enjoyable and charming.
I'll confess we watched the 1993 film version before we got to the end of the book and my children
lost interest in the ending.  I read it myself and was fascinated by the differences between the film and book endings.  I had seen the film when it came out and greatly enjoyed it.  They did a wonderful job of focusing on the mystery while still staying true to the important themes in the book.  I'm glad I read the book and that my kids have heard most of it, but it was a bit of a challenge in language and length to read to children who are more accustomed to modern novels.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you made it through it! I want to pull this out and read it again myself now :)